This Week in Washington…

Posted on September 26, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized |

TOP 5 STORIES THIS WEEK

WHITE HOUSE

CONGRESS

POLITICS

BUDGET, ECONOMY & FINANCE

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

  • The European Union unveiled new emissions targets at the United Nations Climate Summit on Monday, while the U.S. and China reiterated existing targets and talked up progress toward their goals.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called climate change an “existential threat” at the Climate Summit and emphasized the necessity for global action on climate change.
  • The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund endorsed Democrat Michelle Nunn in the Georgia Senate race, despite her support for construction of the Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline.
  • As a result of China’s rapid economic expansion, carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere will hit a record high in 2014.
  • Roughly 400,000 people marched through New York City on Sunday in support of action to address climate change ahead of the U.N. Climate Summit.
  • Major charitable organizations went public with pledges to dump their shares in petroleum and coal companies on the eve of the summit.
  • Cynthia Quarterman, the administrator for the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, will step down Oct. 3 from the position she has held since 2009.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS & DEFENSE

HEALTH CARE

  • HHS announced that 7.3 million individuals are enrolled in ACA exchange plans, reflecting the total paid enrollees as of Aug. 15. More than 8 million people had signed up for private plans through the new marketplaces by the close of open enrollment, but some failed to pay their premiums, and others allowed their coverage to lapse.
  • In an increasingly common practice, assistants or other hospital staff may be called in to help with a procedure without good reason, then charge exorbitant fees that patients or their insurers were not expecting.
  • The three-day, country-wide Ebola lockdown in Sierra Leone ended as planned Sunday evening, according to the Health Ministry, which said 75 percent of the targeted 1.5 million households had been contacted by aid workers, who went door-to-door to find hidden Ebola patients, distribute soap, and educate residents about the disease.
  • The Obama administration said about 70 percent of enrollees—first-time applicants with uncomplicated household situations—will be able to use a shorter, more streamlined online application form on gov during the second open-enrollment period.
  • Since the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment began in Oct. 2013, about 8 million additional people have enrolled in Medicaid, according to the latest monthly report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • Individual market premium increases were the norm prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act; the average increase of 8.4 percent expected next year for individuals who renew their popular plans on the exchange is still within historical precedent, and the average increase of 1 percent expected for those who shop around is extremely low.

TECHNOLOGY

  • Comcast mounted a defense of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, sending hundreds of pages of comments to the FCC that promised better service for consumers and accusing critics of being paranoid or having a stake in scuttling the deal.
  • The FCC is looking for new ways to protect net neutrality, responding to liberals who believe its initial proposal didn’t do enough, but trying to stay on a firm legal footing.
  • Android followed Apple’s lead, saying it would stop giving users’ cell-phone or tablet data to police, because its new security features mean it lacks the ability to access their information.
  • Apple’s new iPhone 6 Plus has suffered backlash from some consumers who say its bigger size has caused it to get bent while in their pockets.
  • A Senate committee found Chinese authorities attempted close to 20 cyberattacks in just a year-long period targeted at military defense contractors.
  • NFL executives made a last-ditch effort to save sports blackout rules, meeting with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to push their argument that the rules are needed to preserve the broadcast TV’s ability to show the NFL.

OTHER NEWS

QUOTES

  • “The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.” — President Obama, addressing the U.N. Security Council (Washington Post)
  • “He’s regal, almost. And I’m not talking about in the sense of a King Arthur or that type of regal. He’s redneck regal. He really is.” — Political strategist David “Mudcat” Saunders, on former Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va. (Daily Caller)
  • “Who do you think President Obama could appoint at this very day, given the boundaries that we have? If I resign any time this year, he could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the Court.” — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Elle)
  • “It’s not entirely run by wackos, but by people who are intimidated by wackos.” — Former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., on the current state of Congress (Washington Post)
  • “Like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear.” — Obama, referencing Ferguson, Mo., during his U.N. address (Politico)
  • “What is unique here is you have an entire state really shifting — people are bidding up prices all over the place. These were quintessential suburbs and cities built for people working as secretaries, but the newest generation is simply not going to be able to stay anymore.” — Zillow economist Stan Humphries, on the rising cost of living in California (New York Times)
  • “Not only are we able to play together, we also don’t litigate against each other.” — Golfer Phil Mickelson, praising the American Ryder Cup squad and alluding to a legal dispute between Irishmen Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell (Bloomberg)

CHARTS AND GRAPHICS

Future events

  • Friday, Sept. 26 – Vice President Biden will host a summit on United Nations peacekeeping at the U.N. in New York.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 30 — First lady Michelle Obama will host a luncheon in honor of the winners of the 2014 National Design Awards, which are organized by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, at 1 p.m. at the White House.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 24 to Saturday, Sept. 27 — The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation holds its 44th annual legislative conference, “It Starts with You,” at 801 Mt. Vernon Pl. NW.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 30 — The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Secret Service’s security protocols in light of the Sept. 19, 2014, incident in which an armed intruder entered the North Portico of the White House, at 10 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn.
  • Friday, Sept. 26 to Saturday, Sept. 27 — The Family Research Council will hold its 2014 Values Voter Summit at 2500 Calvert St. NW.
  • Friday, Sept. 26 — The Heritage Foundation will hold a book discussion on A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans at 11 a.m. at 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 30 – The Hudson Institute will hold a discussion, “Creating Clarity for Nonprofits,” at noon at 1015 15th St. NW.
  • Thursday, Sept. 25 — Virginia International University will hold an event, “Forecasting Global Economic Development and Risk: What’s Missing in Our Ability to Measure and Predict Economic Performance?” at 5 p.m. at 11200 Waples Mill Rd. in Fairfax.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 1 — The Information Technology Industry Council will hold its 2014 Cybersecurity Summit, “Risks and Benefits in an Interconnected Economy,” at 2 p.m. at 1700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 30 — The American Security Project will hold a conference, “What’s Next? Fostering the Next Generation of Energy Security,” at 9 a.m. at 1100 New York Ave. NW.
  • Monday, Sept. 29 – The Brookings Institution will hold a discussion, “The Evolving Risks of Fragile States and International Terrorism,” at 2 p.m. at 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
  • Friday, Sept. 26 — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will hold a discussion, “Advancing Solutions in Entitlements: Supporting Greater Value,” focusing on recommendations to stabilize Medicare and Medicaid, at 9:30 a.m. at 1615 H St. NW.
  • Friday, Sept. 26 — The Alliance for Health Reform will hold a briefing, “Network Adequacy: Seeking Balance,” on the regulation of health insurance networks, at noon in G-50 Dirksen.
  • Monday, Sept. 29 — The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus will hold a briefing, “The Expiration of the Internet Tax Moratorium: What New Internet & Mobile Phone Taxes Will Mean for Constituents & for the Economy,” at noon in 562 Dirksen.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 30 — The FCC will hold an open meeting on ending sports blackout rules at 10:30 a.m. at 445 12th St. SW.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 1 — Washington Post Live will hold a Cybersecurity Summit at 8:30 a.m. at 1150 15th St. NW.

 

 

 

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